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New IBS Building Raises Neighborhood Concerns
The University of Colorado’s new Institute of Behavioral Sciences building has created controversy since before construction began in July 2009. The building rests on the northern edge of campus at the corner of 15th and Grandview. It stands approximately 75 feet, well above the city of Boulder’s height limits.
Since the University is a state entity, it is not bound by city of Boulder building codes and legally does not even have to consult the city on its plans. However the University says it has made attempts at discussion with the surrounding community.
“In the very beginning of the planning of the project we had a couple open houses, we went door to door, and talked to all the neighbors in the area and asked about their concerns, and let them know what the project was going to be,” said Megan Rose, an employee of the University Planning, Design and Construction department.
The University’s communication methods have been called into question by Hillside road resident Carl Manthei, who has lived near CU for 35 years and said that no University official had ever tried to contact him in any way.
“There’s a building that’s going up on the top of the hill and it’s there. There’s a pit being dug two lots away from me and it just shows up” said Manthei. “That’s what notice I get.”
Manthei showed Newsteam Boulder a flyer he received warning him that there was going to be construction on a pipeline related to the IBS building from 8 AM to 5 PM for three days in late August. According to the Manthei, the construction actually took 5 weeks.
Paul Levitt, a Hillside Road resident and also a CU Professor said that any discussions on the part of the University with its neighbors is generally insincere. “The University is famous for saying we’re all going to get together and talk,” said Levitt. “And even if such a meeting takes place where we all get together and talk, it’s clear when you go to these meetings that the University has already decided what it wants to do.”
In 2009 the Boulder city council voted to send a letter of complaint to the University about the new building, and Mayor Matthew Appelbaum told the Daily Camera that he did not want to see the building built. City council members also told the Daily Camera that they were prepared to go to court over the building, but no lawsuit was filed. Rose told Newsteam Boulder that the University worked with the city council about their concerns and that she does not expect any legal action will be forthcoming.
The relationship between the University and neighboring Boulder residents will continue to be an important issue in the years to come as more buildings go up and land space starts to run out. According to Rose, CU is prepared to work as cohesively as possible with those around them. “Everybody has their perception but we’ve tried, and we’ve done a lot to include the community and the city and everything else to make sure we aren’t being a bad neighbor because that’s the last thing we want to do,” said Rose.
The IBS Building will be completed by the end of October 2010.